The greatest stories of triumph in life are not of men overcoming sin and darkness. While compelling, the distinction between light and dark stands before us all as clearly as the day. No. The greatest stories of triumph are of men overcoming humanity itself. Greatness, tribulation, mediocrity, passion, mortality, and all the facets that make life real... and with those ingredients of imperfection, somehow accomplishing the impossible... accessing the divine.
Sometimes it's easy to look at life and think, "If I could only conquer this trial, I would be set." To believe that once I've overcome my sins, or at least lessened them significantly, the pathway should be lined with roses. But overcoming sin is just the beginning of the pathway to conversion... a pathway that continues to climb all the days of life.
Accepting the Savior and His Atonement to pay for my sins, changing who I am, and repenting are all difficult tasks. But I think that sometimes there are even bigger difficulties... and that trials and blessings can be bigger obstacles than sins in arriving at conversion.
It is easy to see how the Atonement can change me from a sinner to a Saint. I repent, ask God forgiveness, and somehow Christ takes upon Himself the suffering for my sins.
But it is far more difficult to comprehend how the Atonement takes my pain, my failings, my talents, and all the rest of our mortal existence... and can somehow make it into perfection.
I've read the scripture in Alma that talks about how Christ suffered for our pains and our sorrows, how He carried our griefs. I know the passage in Preach My Gospel that says that all things that are unfair in life will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I've taught people that they must lay everything... their faith, their hopes, their dreams, their love, their sins, and all they will ever have, on the altar of the Lord so that He can make them whole.
But it's still hard.
It's hard when I find myself sitting outside on a warm summer night, looking up at stars, wondering if I will ever really be able to find my way.
It's hard when I take a girl out because I want someone to spend time with and I know she'll say yes, not because I'm interested.
It's hard when people around me so easily accomplish the goals I can't reach... and when they seem oblivious to my pain.
And it's hard when I turn to the Heavens and ask, honestly... "Dear Father, what wouldst Thou have me do?"... and the answer is silence... an injunction to move forward on my own.
The greatest difficulty I've faced in life has not been same-sex attraction. It has been reconciling that trial, and every other facet of my life, with the reality of God's Plan for me. It's been learning to be humble, learning to accept His will, and ultimately having faith that it will all work out even if I have no idea how.
I think that's what the Lord expects of me, anyway. True miracles don't usually happen because those who ask for them understand how they are done... or even know the circumstances under which they operate. True miracles... like the miracle of spiritual healing that far surpasses any removal of mortal trials... come from felt need, honest faith, and submitting, completely, to God.
I don't know which way the Lord would have me go. Life is a mess. And yet I know that it will all work out. As I continue in faith, someday the Lord will help me write my own greatest story. He will take my inadequacies, my temptations, my trials, my hopes, my talents, my dreams... and then return them to me perfected. He will heal my heart completely, and I will be made whole.